NBA Draft > They Are Who We Thought They Were … Right? (Draft Recap)

~ I’m not really sure what to make of how the 2011 NBA Draft panned out for all of the teams. Overall, this is going to be a very tough draft class to grade over the next couple of seasons. There was no clear-cut no brainers for selections. The case can be made that the number 1 pick could have been someone different.

 The draft board held up to form for the first 3 picks and then it became a matter of who’s the best available and what trades can be made. A handful of teams drafted pretty well, just not who many expected.

 The Top 3

 Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, and Enes Kanter were the top 3 on the board and respectively went in that order. Cleveland gets their point guard of the future in Irving. Minnesota gets a talented scorer to pair with Ricky Rubio, and Utah gets the top big man on the board in Kanter.

 Any one of these 3 could have went number 1 in the draft so the Cav’s, T-Wolves, and Jazz should feel good about their choices.

 Kanter was the wild card on the board, his stock rose leading up to the draft. Once he was selected, that’s when the complexion of the draft began to change.

 Cleveland not only had the number 1 pick, they had the number 4 pick as well. Two picks in the top 5 normally has a pretty good outcome. However this was not a strong draft class and that made for slim pickings, even at the top of the board.

 The Cav’s took Tristan Thompson at 4 and that was a bit of a surprise and maybe even a reach. I would’ve liked to have seen the Cav’s make a strong push to use their 4th pick to move up 1 or 2 more spots to grab Kanter or Williams to go along with Irving. That by far would’ve made for a great draft night. However, Irving is still a great pick at 1 and will be marketed big time by the team.

 Minnesota took Derrick Williams at 2 and then the rest of their picks (mostly foreign players who may or may not make it to the league) left plenty of room for criticism. The Timberwolves need a lot of work and it’s safe to say that they may need more than Cleveland at this point. (at least the Cav’s have stability at their head coaching spot) Focus on the good though … Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio are in place, now we get to see if Minnesota can properly build around them.

 Utah had a pretty good draft, addressing needs in the backcourt and frontcourt. Kanter was a great pick for them, and Alec Burks at number 12 will help with depth at the guard position.

 All 3 of these teams addressed needs they had and took advantage of their positioning.

 Kemba, Jimmer, and … Brandon Knight

 Once the top 3 were off the board, there really wasn’t much juice left in this draft with the exception of where Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette were going to end up. It took for Brandon Knight to be taken by Detroit to help set the wheels in motion.

 The talk on the board was that if Knight slipped out of the top 5, it would push both Walker and Fredette down as well. Knight ended up slipping and Detroit was smart to take him. He’s a solid point guard that will help trigger the Pistons rebuilding job. There is a logjam in their backcourt with Ben Gordon, Rodney Stuckey, and Rip Hamilton. Two of those three are most likely going to be moved.

Walker ends up in Charlotte and he’ll get his chance to be the man there. Michael Jordan’s executive moves have always been up for debate, this year he drafted pretty well. Walker has floor general written all over him.

Jimmer Time goes to Sacramento and I think that’s the perfect landing spot for Fredette. The Kings are offensive team that is going to put points up. It’s also the only way they are going to draw attendance next season at a time where they are trying to keep from relocating the franchise. Fredette does not have to focus on being a full time point guard there. He’ll need to defend more than he ever did in college. However let’s be clear here, Fredette will be on the court to shoot the ball and score. Anything else that comes along with that is a huge bonus for Sacramento.

 

TO CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE DRAFT BOARD, CLICK HERE 

Trade Central 

The trade rumors had as strong a buzz as the draft prospects, arguably stronger. Indiana and San Antonio used the draft to trade for opposite reasons. The Spurs picked up prospects that may help with their pending rebuilding project. Tony Parker is currently still a Spur. However, George Hill is on his way to Indiana. The Pacers were a playoff team last season, so this move made more sense for them.

Jimmer and Kemba were acquired through the help of draft day trades. Charlotte picked up Walker and Big Man project Bismack Biyombo (coolest name in draft). It cost them Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston, who now head to Milwaukee. The same deal also involved Sacramento which helped them land Jimmer and reacquire John Salmons from the Bucks.

The trade I liked the most involved the new world champion Dallas Mavericks in a 3 team deal with Portland and Denver. The Mav’s came away with point guard Rudy Fernandez from Portland. He’s a great fit for a team that is built to win more in the short term. Portland also swapped Andre Miller to Denver for Raymond Felton. All 3 teams also came away with potential players from the draft as well.

Overall, this draft class is not expected to be one of the more memorable ones. However, that’s the beauty of sports. Projections and Predictions at the end of the day are just exactly that.

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Welcome To The 2011 NBA Draft: The REAL NBA Trade Deadline

 ~ This year’s NBA Draft does not have the potential star power of the 1996 class that brought in Iverson, Kobe, Marbury, and Allen. There is no LeBron, Melo or D. Wade coming out of this class. It’s low on star power, lower on overall potential talent and despite all of that, the 2011 NBA Draft is shaping up to be one of the more intriguing drafts of recent memory.

 The reasoning behind all of that may have to do with the legal troubles surrounding the NBA which could eventually lead to a lockout. A work stoppage is the last thing the league wants. However much like the NFL lockout, it’s looking inevitable.

 With a pending lockout overshadowing the league, this year’s draft has become more of a spotlight for NBA players who could be put on the market to be traded. The teams need to get their salary cap situations under control now as much as they can before a lockout happens.

 Operating under that kind of thought process has opened the door to enough trade rumors to almost drown out any buzz surrounding this year’s draft.

 Look at some of the names that potentially could be relocating:

* Tony Parker was reportedly on the trade market in 2010 and he’s back on it now apparently. Toronto and Sacramento have both inquired about his availability. They also have the numbers 5 and 7 picks respectively. 

 The Spurs are clearly in a position now where they have to rebuild an aging team. Parker is the one out of their core 3 that has the most trade value. San Antonio is said to be looking to get a top 10 draft pick in return. Perhaps to get a shot at Washington State’s sharpshooter guard Klay Thompson.

 

* Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, Jameer Nelson, Lamar Odom, and Monta Ellis have all been thrown into the mix as players who could be on the move. Their respective teams have all been preparing trade scenarios that include picks from this year’s draft.

 

This past season reflected a transition in the league. Oklahoma City and Chicago took big steps forward and even though Miami came up two games short of a NBA title, they’ll be back next season perhaps even stronger. This year teams are not only looking to get into a better position financially with this draft, they are also looking to get younger and more athletic.

 

 

 The draft this year does have potential storylines that involve the players who are eligible.

 Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are expected to go numbers 1 and 2. Minnesota has been apparently listening to trade offers for the number 2 pick and while Cleveland is expected to take Irving at number 1, what they do with their number 4 pick is just as much a mystery and could impact their decision to take Irving.

 The true drama (if there is any) starts at the number 3 spot with the Utah Jazz. If they take the top big man Enes Kanter or point guard Brandon Knight. Teams are trying to get high enough in the draft through trades to perhaps grab Kanter. Once he comes off the board, it could open the door to an array of trades and surprise picks.

 

What started out as a draft class projected to be one of the weaker ones in recent history has now turned into must see television all of a sudden.

 One thing is for certain is that with a lockout about to happen that could put off free agency over the summer, teams are going the trade route to help shape their rosters. What better platform is left than the NBA Draft to serve as the newest trade deadline.

NY Mets-Blog > It’s Time To Show Jose Reyes The Money

~ It has to feel pretty good to be #7 for the New York Mets right now. Jose Reyes is approaching a crossroads.

The 28-year old shortstop is currently playing the best baseball of his career. Reyes has given the Mets organization everything they could possibly want from him in 2011. He is also up for a new contract at the end of the season. It’s now time for the Mets to give their fanbase what it wants … a new contract for Jose Reyes.


This wouldn’t be any ordinary new contract. Professional athletes get new contracts all the time. In most cases, the contract scale normally works this way if an athlete becomes a big time player:

  • The Rookie Contract: The 1st contract a.k.a the rookie contract let’s an athlete know that they have arrived to the party. The fans are excited because their team has a player that’s developed into a buzz.


  • The All-Star Contract: In the event that athlete lives up to the potential and buzz that got them their rookie contract, there is this contract. The athlete has become a branding weapon for their team and it’s marketing strategy. Fans come to the ballpark to see them play.


  • The Franchise Contract: Every athlete that becomes an All-Star in their career won’t receive this contract. The athlete is now at it’s highest prestige level. Their overall talent and game-changing skills has not only been recognized, it has turned that into athlete into a made man. This is the contract that opens the door to an exclusive membership. Cuba Gooding Jr. said it best as Rod Tidwell in the 1996 film Jerry MaguireRead more of this post

Media: Chad Pennington To Take 2011 Off & Work For FOX Sports

~  FOX Sports continues to upgrade their product in the play by play booth with NFL quarterback Chad Pennington recently letting it be known he will be working with the network for the upcoming season.

 Pennington has specialized in the art of the comeback throughout his NFL career as a quarterback with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. It just hasn’t been the kind of comebacks he may want to be remembered for when he looks back on his playing days.

He’s had four shoulder injuries suffered during his 11-year NFL career and is currently rehabbing from a ACL injury he suffered in a pickup basketball game. That’s definitely more than enough to make anyone re-evaluate if they want to continue a professional football career at 35 years old.

 Because of Pennington’s latest shoulder injury along with the ACL injury, he wasn’t expecting to play football in 2011 and he’s not exactly ready to retire either. It’s a good time for Pennington to explore a possible new career that he has the potential to excel at.

 “I’m actually going to take this year off, get healthy and do some work for Fox Sports,I’m going to evaluate things and see where I am physically.”

Throughout his playing career, Pennington has always been an insightful and interesting interview. He’s passionate about the game and is very articulate. This could be the beginning of something so good for him, he may just decide to close the door on his playing career.

Sunset In Miami: Dallas Wins The NBA Title

 ~ Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd can finally say they have one. Shawn Marion and Peja Stojakovic can finally say it. Jason Terry can finally say it. They can all  now look at each other and say that they now have a NBA championship.The Dallas Mavericks defeat the Miami Heat to become 2010-2011 NBA Champions. Miami now heads home for what will be a very long summer vacation, especially for LeBron James.

 

The Miami Heat went into the 4th quarter of Game 6 down by 9 points to the Dallas Mav’s. If it would have been Dallas down by 9, I really wouldn’t pay much attention to it. I know the chances are pretty good they are going to put themselves right back into a position to win the game. However, it was Miami that needed a 4th quarter comeback. The way this series went, for that to happen wouldn’t have been a smart wager.

 

 

The Role Players Step Up And Then The Superstars Step In

 

Dirk Nowitzi was not spectacular, far from it. He was 1 for 12 shooting the ball in the first half. It was what happened during that stretch which ultimately led to final score of this game. While Dirk was struggling to score, the role players for Dallas were picking him up. JJ Barea found his groove once he was put into the starting lineup and Miami couldn’t keep him out the paint. It was the outstanding shooting performance of Jason Terry though that kept Dallas afloat. Terry saved his biggest performance of the series for the elimination game. 19 big points in the first half, 27 points for the game. It was Terry’s shooting that allowed Dallas to continue running their normal offense. It paid off as Nowitzki came up with big shots in the 4th quarter to help put the game away and secure a championship.

 

Everything Dallas was in this series, Miami wasn’t. The Mav’s hustled harder, they fought harder, and they flat out outplayed the Heat in every important aspect of the game. That’s hard to imagine when two elite players are on one team. It’s harder to imagine when that team has the best 3rd option in the league. It’s exactly what happened though.

 

 

Winners Must Endure Adversity

 

 

This series was basically over after the back to back 4th quarter performances of LeBron James in games 4 and 5. The Miami Heat lost this series because James did not respond to the adversity that was thrown at him. As talented as this team is, they only get this far because of the play of Wade, Bosh, and James. The moment was there for James to grab when the efforts of Wade wasn’t enough.

 

James had moment after moment to establish himself as an elite player that belonged on the biggest stage. He was nowhere near the dominant player the fans have come to expect of him. James was indecisive, passive, and too quick to defer to the next player instead of letting his natural talent take over. It cost him a championship this season. It may also cost him further damage to the global icon status he is trying to build for himself.

 

LeBron James is in his 9th year in the league. That’s hard to imagine because he’s still so young. To be a winner, facing adversity and overcoming it is a must.He took Cleveland to the Finals in 2007 and they were swept by the Spurs. He couldn’t get them back to the Finals, finishing his time there on a losing note that’s best remembered for his final home game in Cleveland against Boston. In that game it looked as if James already had one foot out of the door and ultimately led him to Miami to team with Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh. 12 months worth of mostly public backlash later, James came up short again when it mattered most and when adversity is confronting him.

 

 

What happens to Miami from here on will be a point of conversation for weeks to come. Wade and James are the foundation of the team and as long as that’s the case, Miami will be title contenders. They had chemistry problems this season and that played a big part in their inconsistent play throughout the regular season. Wade and James must find a way to take the next step together as leaders of this team. Bosh has to find a way to get involved in the offense more. The supporting cast must be improved over the summer.

 

Whereas Miami took a step backwards in their pursuit of “multiple championships”, Dallas took full advantage of their time in the spotlight. This team wasn’t built for multiple championships. This was their moment. Kidd, Marion, Terry, and Stojakovic endured years of falling short in the playoffs as stars on their past teams. They embraced their role as supporting cast members while Dirk Nowitzki was the headliner. If there was any doubt left about Nowitzki being a big time superstar, it was erased in the playoffs this year. He led Dallas on comeback after comeback and dazzled everyone with his shooting. His mental toughness showed when he got hurt, sick, and eventually hit a shooting slump at the worst possible time. Dirk not only took on adversity, he embraced the challenge with the heart and determination of a champion.

 

This is a team that went the second half of the season without it’s Caron Butler. Butler was a big loss on offense and defense for the Mav’s. They overcame that to make the playoffs, run through Portland, sweep the defending champion Lakers, and hold off Oklahoma City to reach the Finals.

 

The Dallas Mavericks took their talents to South Beach and now head back to Texas with the trophy. When the moment comes, you have to be prepared for it. You never know when you’ll have that moment again. Dallas confronted the moment and ran with it, Miami was confronted by the moment and ran away from it.

The TFB Week In Review … June 5th-11th, 2011 Part Two

The NBA FINALS: Will The Real LeBron Please Stand Up?

 

 ~ The NBA Finals is about to reach it’s grand finale and it’s been a great ride so far. The storyline should be how great these games have been between Miami and Dallas. However, a storyline that’s been 12 months in the making has taken centerstage, the mystery of what happened to LeBron James: The Basketball Player.

 

He didn’t show in game 4, by far the worst we have ever seen him play on the big stage. He was nowhere to be found in the fourth quarter and Miami lost that game. In game 5 James at least showed up long enough to post a triple double. However, those numbers had no impact when it mattered most … the 4th quarter. Miami lost that game as well.

 

He hasn’t exactly been “King James” in this series. The man who is supposed to be nearly unstoppable on the court has been nothing close to that. Now the series heads back to South Beach with Dallas 1 win away from a championship and James possibly headed for the longest summer of his professional career.

 

No one really knows why James has not been the dominant player everyone knows he’s capable of being. It’s possible he could be trying to fit in too much onto Dywane Wade’s team instead of just playing his game. What is certain though is that James is in danger of damaging his reputation on the court. The doubters and the critics have had a field day with his free fall to this point. Miami can still come back and win the championship, however James has to get back to being himself. Anything less and the question will continue to linger, championship or not … When will we see the real LeBron James?

 

RED SOX-YANKEES: Does Boston Have The Yanks Number?

 

 

Another Red Sox-Yankees series at Yankee Stadium this season ended with another Red Sox Sweep. It’s only June and the baseball season has a long way to go. However, Boston is clearly comfortable playing in the Bronx this season. Proof of that was David Ortiz launching home runs off of Yankee pitching throughout the series. The Red Sox appear to be primed for a big summer and the Yankees may have to make sure they at least lock up the wild card instead of going after the division.

 

A lot of the Yankees summer plans determine on the state of their now very fragile pitching. The starting rotation is full of question marks after CC Sabathia. The bullpen was projected to have a big season for the Yankees, instead they have become walking M.A.S.H unit. Pedro Feliciano, Rafael Soriano, and not Joba Chamberlain have all gone down. Chamberlain’s loss was a surprise and a major blow. He’s facing Tommy John surgery which could put him out 12-14 months.

 

 

The next time these two teams meet will be in August. The Yanks are going to have to make a statement in that series that will set a tone for the stretch run in September. The American League East is going to come down to who’s the healthiest at the end of the season. The anticipation will now pick up to see who the Yankees will go after at the trade deadline, that’s if Boston doesn’t beat them to the punch.

The TFB Week In Review … June 5th – 11th, 2011 Part One

MAMA, THERE GOES THAT MAN …

~ The Golden State Warriors went for the splashy move by bringing in Mark Jackson to be their next head coach. It’s well documented by now that Jackson does not have any coaching experience. He is going to need to be surrounded by solid basketball minds both in the front office and on the sidelines. However, if his comments at his press conference is any indication, Jackson is going to bring a confident swagger to the Warriors.

“It is a great day.Not only for me, but for this organization, for this fan base. Because the Bay Area will never be the same.” … Mark Jackson , New Head Coach of The Golden State Warriors

Never mind what his coaching philosphies are right now, Jackson has presence. He’s young enough to relate to today’s NBA player and brings 17 years of basketball knowledge from his playing career. His aim right now has to be to get the Warriors a new idenity that leads them to the playoffs.

MONTA ELLIS TRADE RUMORS

Jackson inherits a Warriors team that has a talented pair of guards, Monta’ Ellis and Stephen Curry. The rumor mill is is in full swing that 1 of them will be traded. Chances are it’ll be Ellis. The 76ers and Magic are rumored to be interested. Jackson did make it clear that he would like to coach Ellis, however if he can be moved for a star or big named player I’m sure he won’t stand in the way of that.

What is also beginning to come to light is a reported beef between Ellis and teammate David Lee. Apparently Ellis does not paticularly care for Lee, according to the ever popular “sources”. If I had to make a prediction on the future of Ellis, I’d go with that he’ll be moved for as much as the Warriors can get back for an extremely talented 25 year old scoring guard. Andre Iguodala for Ellis makes a lot of sense financially and on the court.

PRYOR & OHIO STATE …

This story won’t go away anytime soon. The score as it stands now is that the NCAA is currently investigating the Ohio State football program. The head coach Jim Tressel ended up losing his job and rightfully so, resigning while under intense media pressure and scrutiny. The latest events now surround former OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

The keyword in that last sentence was former. Pryor announced that he will not return to OSU in the fall. He gives up his senior season and will now look to land in the NFL via the Supplemental Draft. That is of course if the NFL takes care of it’s current lockout status.

Smart move by Pryor to get out of town when he had the chance. He was going to be suspended for the first 5 games of the upcoming season anyway. Teammates have reportedly expressed they don’t want to play with him anymore, some have even blamed him for Tressell losing his job and the school being investigated so deeply. The allegations continue to get worst with reports coming out that Pryor was guilty of NCAA violations by receiving large amounts of cash benefits. He’s not ready to be an NFL quarterback yet, at least not from what I saw of him in televised OSU games.

 It now remains to be seen just how many more allegations against OSU come to light. The judgement has been passed swiftly already against them, costing the team it’s head coach and now it’s starting quarterback. This one is a story that will continue to unfold.

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